Moderate Schmoderate

The very fact we find ourselves attempting sobriety suggests that our rational brain accepts alcohol is not good for us. I’m not saying that every person who puts down the bottle has an addiction or problem but when we strip back what alcohol is you do struggle to find an actual benefit of putting it into our bodies.

Certainly in the UK where I was born, raised and still live there is a social acceptance of drinking to excess and most people will turn a blind eye to a head down a toilet after ‘one too many’ but how many people would turn a blind eye to somebody over-eating to the point of vomiting?

On the other end of the spectrum we call drug takers ‘addicts’ and stereotype them as thieving, dirty lowest of low in society yet I know cocaine addicts who have six figure salary jobs and hold down a house and the fake facade of a clean life.

The reason I mention it is because I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently with friends about moderating. It must be something to do with it being January and the desire to be healthy and cut down on the stuff that was overindulged on over Christmas! When I respond by saying I don’t think many people can successfully moderate who haven’t previously been a responsible drinker you can see the cogs turning – they don’t disagree with me but at the same time they can’t bring themselves to say they would quit the booze all together. I’m in the minority in society by abstaining. It’s not a boast, it’s just reality!

Anyways, I don’t have a particular subject to cover today but I wanted to blog nonetheless so apologies if this ends up being nothing more than a Happy Daddy ramble. My posts of late have steered more down the Rational Recovery / AVRT route as I’ve been keen to share how the mechanics of this programme work and it’s great to see that many people have taken a look and are now investing in Jack Trimpey’s book – a piece of literature which has changed my life. That said, I don’t want my Blog to solely become a fan page for Jack!

My ‘recovery’ started back on the 17th February 2021 and as I’ve said many times before I didn’t have any long term plans for the Blog. I didn’t take my journal into hospital and we weren’t allowed chargers in our rooms because of the risk of self harm with the wires. It meant I needed to ration my phone battery so rather than trying to watch films via rubbish NHS WiFi and drain the juice I started writing down how I felt. It was easy to use the WordPress App via my phone and before I knew it Happy Daddy was born. I didn’t expect anybody to read it bar me (just like my paper journal back home) but it immediately got views and that in itself fed into the positive human reaction of feeling liked, important and part of something.

The Blog serves two purposes. It’s a great outlet for me to write but let’s be honest – if it was that alone I could have gone back to my private journal after leaving hospital. I continued to blog instead and once I was getting positive feedback and comments from those reading my posts I realised my blogging could help others. So here we are two years later, 179 posts published and over 15,000 blog views.

There have been times when I’ve questioned if blogging on a public forum is the right thing in the long term – especially when you consider the content that I’m covering. There is still stigma attached to addiction and mental health issues in the UK despite the massive inroads we’ve made in the last decade. Would being public affect future career aspirations? Would it bring unwanted attention to my family? Would it lead to increased anxiety and stress if the Blog grew in popularity and more people reached out (including trolls!)?

I love having my Happy Daddy platform but I think it’ll always be something I review periodically and then decide if it’s still bringing any value to my life. I’m still in the infancy of sobriety and recovery and this pathway I’m on could be my life for another 30-50 years.

The 11 A’s of AVRT

By now you will probably know what AVRT stands for (unless this is the first time you’ve read one of my Blogs!) but beyond the word ‘Addictive’ there are some valuable ‘A’s’ that form part of the wider Rational Recovery / AVRT programme.

Today I’m going to share these eleven suggestions that Jack Trimpey, founder of Rational Recovery encourages us to action as part of our Big Plan – living indefinitely without alcohol. Our families and friends are impacted by our alcohol and drug abuse so they naturally form part of our new life. To enable this we need to make changes and close some difficult doors.

Before I start let me remind you that I’ve written about what AVRT is, how it works and why it may work for you. These blog posts are available here

Your 11 A’s

1. Approach each person in your family (and those friends closest to you) about your drink or drug problem. Don’t wait for them to say something

2. Admit your role. Listen to what your family and friends have to say about your behaviour. Tell them you became more devoted to drink / drugs than to them

3. Acknowledge the hurt you have caused others. They would have been frightened, angry, disgusted and hurt at times. But you are sober now so you can move forward with you life

4. Apologise by saying sorry. Words might mean little to your family and friends by now but start with an apology and your actions will make the difference in time

5. Absorb their anger. Your family and friends got fed up of your using and behaviour long before you did. Let them be angry. Absorb it. It’s the least you can do

6. Ask how you can help. We can’t undo what is done but we can be involved in how we shape our future relationship with those closest to us

7. Assert your love by expressing your feelings towards them. Tell each person how much they mean to you. Again, we can’t change what is done but this is the rest of our life now

8. Anticipate mistrust. Don’t expect your family and friends to believe you when you say you will never drink again. Expect continued mistrust and in time, well… prove everybody wrong in a good way!

9. Accept that you are fallible. Don’t expect others to make you feel better about yourself. You need to develop your emotional independence so start working on you and what you can do to make you feel good about yourself

10. Adventure. Explore new activities, interests and take your family and friends along for the ride. New relationships will blossom in time too

11. Abstain from alcohol. Period.